Oregon Wildlife Commission Keeps Cruel Trapping Practices in Place

Oregon Wildlife Commission Keeps Cruel Trapping Practices in Place

SOURCE: Center for Biological Diversity DATE: June 16, 2020 SNIP: After a contentious 12-hour meeting, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission rejected conservation proposals to adopt a uniform 24-hour trap check time for all wildlife and to ban beaver trapping on federally managed public lands. The commission also voted 6-1 last Friday to continue the state’s existing furbearer trapping and hunting regulations for the next two years. Oregon’s trapping policies currently allow animals to languish in traps anywhere from 48 hours to 30 days, depending on how they are categorized by statute or rule. “It’s troubling that the commission upheld Oregon’s cruel, outdated and wasteful trapping program for the benefit of just 1,000 licensed trappers in the entire state,” said Quinn Read, Oregon policy director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This decision is completely out of step with Oregonians’ changing wildlife values. It’s time to relegate trapping to the dustbin of Oregon’s history.” While the commission declined to adopt the conservation proposals, they voted unanimously to direct agency staff to review trap-check time requirements and identify proposals for rule changes by January 2021. The commission also supported the concept of forming a beaver working group and indicated its intent to define the roles and responsibilities of such a group at its July meeting. The Center and its conservation allies advocated for two proposals to reform Oregon’s trapping program. The first proposal asked the commission to close federally managed public lands to commercial and recreational beaver trapping and hunting. Beavers and their dam-building activities are crucial to restoring riparian ecosystems and reducing the harms of climate change, yet beavers...
Water-guzzling demands of Trump’s border wall threaten fish species

Water-guzzling demands of Trump’s border wall threaten fish species

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: December 29, 2019 SNIP: The survival of eight endangered and threatened species, including four kinds of endemic fish, is in doubt in Arizona, as massive quantities of groundwater are extracted to construct Donald Trump’s border wall. The 30ft-high barrier is under construction on the edge of the San Bernardino national wildlife refuge in south-eastern Arizona, where rare desert springs and crystalline streams provide the only US habitat for the endangered freshwater Río Yaqui fish. The region’s water reserves are already depleted due to prolonged drought and record high temperatures linked to the climate crisis. The expansion of water-intensive crops such as alfalfa and pecan farms is also draining aquifers in the arid region. Now, experts fear that construction of this 20-mile stretch of Trump’s wall, which began in October, has reduced spring flow and groundwater levels in San Bernardino which provide scarce habitat for the Yaqui topminnow, chub, beautiful shiner and the most vulnerable, the Yaqui catfish. “There’s good reason to believe that the Yaqui fish’s only US habitat is drying up as a result of tens or hundreds of thousands of gallons of groundwater being pumped to build the border wall,” said Laiken Jordahl, a borderlands campaigner with the Center for Biological Diversity who recently visited the area. In September, the Trump administration pledged to erect 450 to 500 miles of the wall by the end of 2020, an ambitious undertaking to be partially funded by $6bn previously earmarked for defense and counter-drug programmes. Construction in Arizona and New Mexico is under way, despite multiple ongoing lawsuits challenging the constitutional basis of Trump’s executive...
A Trump Policy ‘Clarification’ All but Ends Punishment for Bird Deaths

A Trump Policy ‘Clarification’ All but Ends Punishment for Bird Deaths

SOURCE: New York Times DATE: December 24, 2019 SNIP: As the state of Virginia prepared for a major bridge and tunnel expansion in the tidewaters of the Chesapeake Bay last year, engineers understood that the nesting grounds of 25,000 gulls, black skimmers, royal terns and other seabirds were about to be plowed under. To compensate, they considered developing an artificial island as a safe haven. Then in June 2018, the Trump administration stepped in. While the federal government “appreciates” the state’s efforts, new rules in Washington had eliminated criminal penalties for “incidental” migratory bird deaths that came in the course of normal business, administration officials advised. Such conservation measures were now “purely voluntary.” The state ended its island planning. The island is one of dozens of bird-preservation efforts that have fallen away in the wake of the policy change in 2017 that was billed merely as a technical clarification to a century-old law protecting migratory birds. Across the country birds have been killed and nests destroyed by oil spills, construction crews and chemical contamination, all with no response from the federal government, according to emails, memos and other documents viewed by The New York Times. Not only has the administration stopped investigating most bird deaths, the documents show, it has discouraged local governments and businesses from taking precautionary measures to protect birds. In one instance, a Wyoming-based oil company wanted to clarify that it no longer had to report bird deaths to the Fish and Wildlife Service. “You are correct,” the agency replied. In another, a building property manager in Michigan emailed the Fish and Wildlife Service to note...
State of Emergency in Ecuador From Diesel Spill on Galapagos

State of Emergency in Ecuador From Diesel Spill on Galapagos

SOURCE: Voice of America News and New York Times DATE: December 22, 2019 SNIP: Ecuador declared a state of emergency Sunday after a barge carrying nearly 2,300 liters of diesel fuel sank at the Galapagos Islands. A crane collapsed while loading fuel onto the ship at a port on San Cristobal, the easternmost island of the Galapagos chain. A heavy container of fuel fell to the deck, causing the barge to go down while the crew jumped overboard for their lives. Soldiers and environmentalists immediately deployed barriers and absorbent cloths to stop the spilled fuel from spreading. Experts will assess the damage. The Galapagos, which are part of Ecuador, is a United Nations World Heritage Site and is one of the globe’s most fragile ecosystems. Many of the plant and animal species who live on the islands are found nowhere else in the world. Dramatic video of the crane collapse shows workers trying to load a shipping container onto what appears to be a relatively small vessel called the Orca. As the crane hoists the container over the ship, the container comes crashing down onto the Orca, pulling the crane with it. The crane tumbles over the Orca and into the water, and the ship flips onto its side as people on board dive into the water. It was not immediately clear if anyone had been injured in the episode or how significant the environmental damage was. The islands have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Their scenery and unique wildlife — including marine iguanas, flightless cormorants and giant tortoises — have made them increasingly popular with tourists,...
Otter Instagram craze in Japan and Indonesia drives surge in deadly poaching, threatening species’ survival

Otter Instagram craze in Japan and Indonesia drives surge in deadly poaching, threatening species’ survival

SOURCE: Independent and MongaBay DATE: May 28, 2019 SNIP: An Instagram-fuelled craze in Japan for keeping otters in cafes and as pets is driving a deadly surge in poaching the animals from the wild – driving them to the brink of extinction, investigators say. Social media influencers who regularly post photos of their pet otters that have become famous are blamed for speeding up demand for the semi-aquatic species in many parts of Asia. The animals’ popularity has led to a rush to open otter cafes in Japan, where customers touch, play, feed and cuddle them, as well as people buying them to keep at home. As a result, Facebook groups with hundreds of thousands of members have sprung up, dedicated to illegally trading in otters, the undercover investigation found. Many members are customers of the organised networks of farmers, hunters and traffickers who steal cubs from the wild, killing the parents to capture the babies, according to World Animal Protection (WAP), which carried out the investigation. Tokyo now has more than half a dozen otters cafés, which vary in terms of the contact visitors are allowed, and the conditions the otters are kept in. At some of the cafés we visited, otters were confined to small rooms filled with people allowed to run riot. Others were locked in cages for the majority of the day. The otters’ welfare is severely compromised for the entertainment of visitors. As Cassandra Koenen, Global Head of Campaigns for World Animal Protection noted: “The otters are heard whimpering, shrieking and making distress calls while customers are interacting with them. Some are kept in...